Broad and Olney shooting highlights gun violence

PHOTO: Melissa Mitman

A mass shooting Wednesday afternoon near Olney Transportation Center, one of the city’s busiest transit hubs, left residents and elected officials shaken.

Eight people in total were wounded by the gunfire, with the victims ranging in age from a 17-year-old girl to a 71-year-old man.

The elderly man was the most seriously injured after having been shot in the stomach and both legs. The rest of the victims were in stable condition, according to police.

At least one person was apprehended at the scene; however, investigators have not determined the identity of the gunman, the Inquirer reported.

Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, whose district abuts Broad Street and Olney Avenue, where the shooting occurred, said the bustling corner is an “open air drug market.”

“This was a train wreck that we all saw happening,” added her colleague, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who also represents the area. “That’s because Broad and Olney has been a problem for many, many moons.”

Tens of thousands of people use the transportation center, which is the second busiest behind City Hall/15th Street. The Broad Street Line, Broad-Ridge Spur and nine bus routes stop at the intersection.

Two large public high schools, Central and Girls’ High, are steps away, as is Einstein Medical Center and La Salle University.

“Thank God we were and are in the midst of this pandemic at this time and schools are currently closed,” Parker said.

Parker, during a Council meeting Thursday, said Broad and Olney needs a police presence as well as resources and outreach for people addicted to drugs and those struggling with mental health issues.

“I am beyond sickened,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement after the shooting. “People have the right to travel between work and home, and around town, without the fear of being shot, and possibly killed, by reckless, indiscriminate gunfire.”

Kenney said Philadelphians deserve more transparency about gun violence prevention programs, and he committed to releasing more information in the coming weeks.

Several Council members signaled that combating shootings and homicides will be a priority when they consider Kenney’s budget proposal, which he plans to present in April.

Earlier this week, the mayor’s office said it expects to face a $450 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year due to a pandemic-fueled drop in tax revenues.

Teen killed, three others injured in shootings

Elsewhere in the city, four people — all teenagers — were shot Wednesday evening into early Thursday.

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the chest outside of a 7-Eleven just after 4 a.m. Thursday at 2900 S. 70th St. in the Eastwick section of Southwest Philadelphia, police said.

He was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died about an hour later.

Investigators described the shooter as a Black man, either 25 or 26 years old, who is about 6 feet 1 inch tall with a youthful face and dark complexion.

He was spotted with a light-skinned Black woman, and the pair fled the scene in a dark green or blue Volkswagen SUV, authorities said.

On Wednesday, at around 10:45 p.m., a 19-year-old man was shot six times in the abdomen and legs on the 3800 block of Poplar Avenue in West Philadelphia, police said. His injuries are not expected to be life-threatening.

Not far away, on the 4300 block of Lancaster Avenue, also in West Philadelphia, an 18-year-old man was shot twice in the right leg just after 6 p.m. Police took him to Penn Presbyterian, where he is in stable condition.

In North Philadelphia, an 18-year-old man was shot in the chest and right thigh at around 5:15 p.m. near the corner of 26th and Somerset streets, authorities said.

Officers rushed him to Temple University Hospital, and he is expected to physically recover, according to police.

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